Shrimp in salted egg sauce (tôm sốt trứng muối) combines the rich taste of salted egg yolks with the delicate and succulent texture of shrimp. This restaurant-style dish can be cooked at home, making it an excellent choice for special occasions.
This dish is quite popular in seafood restaurants, as well as upscale Vietnamese or Cantonese establishments in Vietnam. It is not difficult to make, but it does involve a number of steps and cooking vessels. Therefore, I would not recommend it if you are still relatively new to Vietnamese cooking or are seeking a quick dinner. However, if you are looking for a more complex dish to impress your family or to celebrate special occasions, definitely consider giving it a try.
Ingredients and Preparation
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make this shrimp in salted egg sauce recipe:
- Salted duck eggs: you can find these at Asian grocery stores
- Flour mixture: potato starch, all purpose flour, and baking soda. This mixture will produce a pleasantly crisp exterior with a nice golden color
- Other ingredients: butter, garlic, salt, and pepper
Preparing the Shrimp
For this dish, you can use either unpeeled or peeled whole shrimp. However, it is more common to use unpeeled shrimp as the shells prevent the flesh from drying out during the cooking process.
To prepare the unpeeled shrimp, first, cut off about an inch from the top tip of the shrimp heads with kitchen shears. Then remove all the legs. You can also peel off the remaining shell around the head, but this is optional.
Next, you can use a sharp paring knife to make a slit down the back of the shrimp. Make sure not to cut all the way through. Remove any black veins.
Preparing the Salted Eggs
The method to prepare and cook the salted eggs for the sauce is exactly the same as how I’ve shared in this tofu in salted egg sauce recipe or pumpkin fritters in salted egg sauce recipe. First, boil the salted duck eggs. Then, discard the egg whites and use a fork to mash the yolks finely, or use a spoon and press them against a sieve (mesh strainer).
The dish comes together quite quickly, so make sure you have all ingredients prepared and line up. I will explain the main steps and why they are necessary.
1️⃣ Cooking the shrimp: coat the prepped shrimp with a generous amount of the flour mixture. Then deep fry for 1-2 minutes until the shrimp are golden and just about to be cooked through.
This frying step cannot be skipped as it creates a crisp exterior that not only keeps the shrimp juicy but also helps the salted egg sauce adhere to the shrimp better. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
2️⃣ Making the sauce: start by sautéing some minced garlic in oil until fragrant, then add the mashed salted yolk. Stir and let it absorb the oil. Add butter and stir to melt the butter and form a creamy sauce. The sauce should be rich and creamy but not too thick or too thin.
3️⃣ Combining the dish: the last step is returning the shrimp to the pan and toss quickly to coat them evenly with the sauce. You should do this step fairly quickly to avoid overcooking the shrimp and drying out the sauce.
Besides shrimp, there are quite a number of ingredients that can be cooked with salted egg yolk sauce. Here are two other recipes you can try:
- Silken tofu in salted egg yolk sauce: this dish is also pretty popular at Vietnamese or Cantonese restaurants in Vietnam.
- Crispy pumpkin with salted egg sauce: the sweetness of pumpkin (I often use butternut squash) is complemented well by the rich and savory salted egg sauce.
More Vietnamese recipes with shrimp you may like:
⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Shrimp with Salted Egg Sauce (Tôm Sốt Trứng Muối)
- Place the salted duck eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and then slightly reduce the heat and boil for another 10 minutes.
- Rinse the eggs under cold water, then peel and discard the whites. Use a fork to mash the salted egg yolks finely, or use a spoon and press them against a sieve (mesh strainer).
- Cut off about ¾ – 1 inch from the top tip of the shrimp heads with kitchen shears. Then cut off all the legs. You can also peel off the remaining shell around the head, but this is optional.
- Use a sharp paring knife to make a slit down the back of the shrimp. Make sure not to cut all the way through. Remove any black veins.
- Heat a generous amount of oil in a deep fry pan. White heating the oil, combine potato starch, all-purpose flour, baking powder and ⅛ teaspoon of salt in a shallow plate. Coat the shrimp generously with the flour mixture.
- Once the oil reaches 375F (190C), add the shrimp and fry for 1-2 minutes until the shrimp are golden and just about cooked through. Deep fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Drain and set aside.
- Place a pan over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the bottom. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the mashed salted egg yolk and the remaining salt. Stir and break up the egg yolk pieces and let it absorb the oil. Then lower the heat slightly and add the butter. Stir to melt the butter and form a creamy sauce.
- Return the shrimp to the pan and toss quickly to coat them evenly with the sauce. Work quickly to avoid overcooking the shrimp and drying out the sauce. Transfer to a serving plate and serve right away.